Trinidad and Tobago will be moving next year to join the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
This was revealed by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, who said he will be asking parliamentarians to have a free vote on naming the CCJ as the country’s final court of appeal.
Speaking to members and supporters of the PNM for the Sept. 30 internal elections of the party, Rowley said that while he has no idea how the vote will go, he assured that every PNM MP will vote in favor of the change.
He referred to the Privy Council deciding an appeal by Fishermen and Friends of the Sea against the granting of a Certificate of Environmental Clearance for the construction of a 5,000-meter highway in East Trinidad, expressing concern that the construction would endanger the nearby Aripo Savannah.
“It took the white man and the Englishman to tell us go and build your road,” he said, in reference to the British law lords.
The Privy Council recently ruled in favor of the Trinidad and Tobago government.
Rowley had made a promise during the general election campaign in 2015 that if his PNM party wins the Sept. 7 election he would table legislation to accept the jurisdiction of the Port-of-Spain-based CCJ as its final court of appeal.
However, he noted that a special three-quarters majority would be required to pass the legislation. The PNM has 23 seats in the 41-member Parliament, while the Opposition UNC has 18.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has not yet indicated whether the UNC will support the legislation.
And come Nov. 1, 2018, Grenadians will go to the polls to vote in a national referendum to determine whether or not to join the CCJ, which will replace the London-based Privy Council.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said the electorate will be called upon to make a bold decision that will help shape the future of Grenada and of the region.
Dr. Mitchell said a “yes” vote for the CCJ will signal Grenada’s unwavering commitment to regional integration.
He noted that [joining] the CCJ is not a political move, but one that is in the best interest of the country.